CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
|FOR RELEASE: April 28, 2015||
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot
GOV. MALLOY: REPLACEMENT OF NORWALK RAIL BRIDGE ON SCHEDULE
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker today announced that the design for a new Walk Railroad Bridge in Norwalk is progressing and remains on schedule. Prior to Governor Malloy’s administration, the bridge, which was first built in 1896, had gone decades without any plans for replacement despite its declining reliability. Now, as bridge designers have been developing plans for the replacement bridge and preparing the necessary permits, interim repairs to help ensure its functionality have been completed. Construction on an entirely new bridge is expected to begin in 2016 and be completed in 2020.
The bridge, which carries four tracks over the Norwalk River and opens and closes for marine traffic below failed to close properly twice in 2014, causing rail travel disruptions. Interim repairs to address them have been finished, which will help ensure its reliability until an entirely new bridge is build.
“For decades, there was no action on this bridge. Now, we are taking action, making smart choices today to ensure a best-in-class transportation system tomorrow. Projects like these are not just about creating jobs and boosting our economy – they’re about ensuring that Connecticut remains a great place to live, work, and raise a family. That’s why, after a century, we’re taking action on this piece of infrastructure. I’ve promised to replace this bridge, and we’re on track to doing just that,” Governor Malloy said. “The design of a replacement is progressing as fast as possible and the Department of Transportation is coordinating with all the project stakeholders – an enormous effort for a project as complicated as this one. I commend Metro-North and the Connecticut Department of Transportation for keeping us on track towards our ambitious goals.”
The new Walk Bridge will be “state-of-the-art” and will feature twin bascule bridges that will enhance the safety and reliability of commuter and intercity passenger rail service as well as the reliability for many waterway users. In, February, CTDOT held a well-attended public scoping meeting explaining the upcoming project.
Commissioner Redeker said that completing the design and the ultimate replacement of the Walk Bridge is “very important for the continued success of the New Haven Line and Northeast Corridor that carries almost 40 million riders each year.”
In November 2014, the State Bond Commission approved more than $53 million for CTDOT to begin work to replace the Walk Bridge. The state bond money will be supplemented by a $161 million federal grant awarded to CTDOT last September under the Sandy Resiliency Project Program for states most affected by Storm Sandy.
Interim repairs included modifications to the assemblies that lift the rail clear to allow the bridge to swing and installation of electronic switches that prevent the various gears from over-rotating, which was the cause of the failures last year, according to Commissioner Redeker. The work was done in combination with a project already under way to replace rails and ties on the bridge. The new mechanisms will be programmed into the automation of the bridge to reduce the manpower currently needed to open the bridge.
The U.S. Coast Guard, which oversees the operation of the bridge for maritime traffic, has issued new guidelines for the opening of the bridge for boats on the Norwalk River, effective January 1. Under the rules, the bridge may not be opened during peak train hours, which are Monday through Friday from 4:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Four hours’ notice is required before the bridge will be opened from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., and two hours’ notice is required from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.